Joe Tantillo, currently a partner at Tantillo, Osborne & Reid ad agency, spent 22 years at McCann Erickson as a creative director and writer. He worked on Johnson & Johnson, Fuji Film, Poland Spring Water.
And he met lots of unusual folks. One client, Joe Nacchio, a bigwig at AT&T, had just reviewed the new AT&T campaign Tantillo had created, and it looked like a go. But then, “he told us before he approved it, he wanted us to prepare hypothetical advertising that MCI would run once they saw this campaign,” remembers Tantillo. “I never had a client plan that far ahead. Brilliant.”
Tantillo worked with Mike Koulermos at McCann, mostly on Anacin, a headache of an account. They’d come up with dazzling work for the pain reliever. The brand people would love it. The lawyers would kill it.
Tantillo recalls, “Whenever we were about to get our asses handed to us for one thing or another, Mike would say, ‘It’s bye-bye Brook-o-lyno.’”
Today Tantillo lives about five blocks from a street called Brooklyn Avenue. “I think of Mike and say his little phrase every time I drive by.”
Among the many awards Tantillo picked up, the very first—an Andy Award— turns out to be his favorite. “It was for a small space ad for an article in New York Magazine about the high cost of real estate,”Tantillo says. “The visual was a small 3” X 5” box with a dotted line around it. The headline read, ‘For $15,000 you could have an ocean-front lot in East Hampton this size.’”